The Detroit Lions cut CB Chris Houston with four years left on his deal. That sends a great message throughout the team, in multiple ways. The first message sent, to Houston and other underperforming players, that no matter your contract, you will be cut if you consistently play poorly. This is a concept already taken into effect when the Lions did not pick up Nick Fairley’s contract option, which has reportedly already turned into better results from Fairley.
Secondly, it’s a clear sign that the Lions are not going to be messing around anymore with their secondary. They may not have made all the moves fans wanted to gain pure talent in the secondary, but perhaps the mentality alteration will create great competition among the many new faces, no matter how mediocre.
From there, maybe the Lions can finally form an identity on defense beyond the front line. Competition and discipline should breed more intensity and more focus. Also, a new shifting defense might work better without as many stubborn players like Houston.
Orchestrating this kind of change on a defense that needs to step up to meet the standards of the offense will without doubt lead to high pressure situations for the defensive coaching staff. It’s up to them to mold what is obviously the weakest link into a piece of the puzzle that secures a fitting spot in the playoffs and beyond.
The next step will be finding their on-the-field leader. Houston was thought to be that guy, but really never was anything close to a field captain. DeAndre Levy has the clout to pull it off, but it really needs to be a defensive back, leading by example on the field, and keeping the guys in line on the sideline and in the huddle. That will be the most important factor for the Lions in the 2014 season.